Left On The Side Of The Road — A Mother’s Story (Part 2 of The Night My Mother Went Missing)

It all started when I received a phone call from my daughter asking me, as she has in the past, if I was doing anything that night.

She was car shopping and wanted to know if I would go with her. The drive time to the dealer with traffic—over one hour and a half.

Pondering how crazy it was to shop for a car that was so far away on a weekday evening, I agreed, and we left. 

On the way to the dealer, we picked up my husband, her father, at his workplace. When we arrived at the dealership, she spotted her dream car. After hours of checking, driving, and haggling over the price, my beautiful daughter left with her prized possession, a used Nissan Juke.

Mutually, we decided that my husband should drive the car. We felt it was safer. This way he could see (and feel) if anything was wrong with it. Rebekah went with him and I followed in my car.

Since it was already late in the night, and we had not had dinner, we stopped to eat. After eating, we continued our journey. Second stop was to pick up my husband’s car. Rebekah took possession of her car and we all continued our way home; my husband leading, Rebekah following, and I was the tail. About halfway up a mountain pass, Rebekah had a problem with the Juke, called her father, pulled over, and I just followed.

We reconvened on the shoulder of the freeway and agreed that my husband would drive Rebekah’s car again. I gave Rebekah the option of either driving her father’s car or mine, and she chose mine. I grabbed my stuff and made sure they both had their phones. 

My husband took off, Rebekah followed, and I, again, was the tail. As we were driving up a steep hill, being in the fourth lane and going fast, my car’s engine just stopped running. I flicked my lights hoping that Rebekah would know that there was a problem, and with the engine off, I coasted to the right shoulder. It was now 10:30 p.m. My first thought: “I am glad Rebekah was not driving this car.” Moreover, I was glad that I made sure everyone had their phones. 

Rebekah never saw me. When I picked up my phone to call them, I realized that it was not my phone, but my GPS system. The car was dead, and I was stranded on the freeway between mountains. I made myself comfortable and waited for my family or the highway patrol to come. I knew that law enforcement patrols the freeway for stranded vehicles. 

While waiting and wondering how long it would take for my family to figure out that I was not with them, I came to the awareness that I did not have my key set (Kubotan for self defense, personal alarm/siren and keys) either. I had given them to Rebekah.

I thought of the different scenarios that could happen.

What if some man stops to help, would he be a friend or foe? What am I going to do? Which way should I run? Would I have time to run? What if he breaks the window? I have never felt so defenseless in my life. I tucked my ponytail into the back of my shirt, attempting to conceal that I was a woman, and prayed for guidance. 

At 11:00 p.m., the highway patrol came to my rescue. I explained the situation which when finished, he found hilarious. He told me that he could not call my family, but that he could give me a ride to the next gas station where I could call my husband, or continue to wait in the car. Hmm. Choices. I chose for him to drive me to the gas station. As I got out of my car, walked to his patrol SUV, and opened the door, I found myself facing another officer seated in the driver’s seat. I was directed to sit in the front while the other officer sat in the back.

Ok. My family will never know what happened to me. 

When the officer started to drive, a car pulled in front of us a few yards away. The officer drove on the shoulder to check it out and as we got closer, the car sped up. I thought again, Oh no, a chase. By the grace of God, while the officer was driving, he was also entering the car’s license plate number in his computer. I guessed it must have come up clean because he stopped chasing it. 

We arrived at the gas station and yes, I was still in one piece. There were some interesting men standing by the gas station’s market doors, so the officers escorted me in. I soon noticed that the doors were locked and that the only way in was when the attendant buzzed you in. The attendant allowed me to use their phone. I called my home hoping to catch my husband, but no one answered.

Then I called his cell and he answered. He was down the mountain backtracking to see if he could find me. When I finished talking to him and gave the phone back to the attendant, it rang. The attendant looked at me funny and gave me the phone as he thought that perhaps the call was for me.

When I answered, I heard a deep hushed tone coming from the other side, “Mama?”

I recognized my son’s voice. I was surprised that he called. He told me that he had barely heard my voice before I hung up, and retraced the call. What a guy!

On the other hand, my favorite daughter . . .

. . .being so excited about her new car, left me stranded on the side of the road.

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